Flatulence – or farting as many people say

Phil the test manager, Going Postal

What is it: (Courtesy of Wiki)

Flatulence is defined in the medical literature as “flatus expelled through the anus or the “quality or state of being flatulent” which is defined in turn as “marked by or affected with gases generated in the intestine or stomach; likely to cause digestive flatulence” The root of these words is from the Latin flatus – “a blowing, a breaking wind” Flatus is also the medical word for gas generated in the stomach or bowels These standard definitions do not reflect the fact that a proportion of intestinal gas may be composed of swallowed environmental air, and hence flatus is not totally generated in the stomach or bowels. The scientific study of this area of medicine is termed flatology.

Some basic facts about farting:

The average human farts 14 times a day. (I guess I am nowhere near average in this respect, 14 times before I leave for work in the morning)

You fart enough to fill a balloon each day! Woah!

Each fart travels at about 7 miles per hour. That’s pretty fast!

Only 1% of each fart smells bad at all. The other part has no odour!

Female farts actually smell worse, That’s because they contain more hydrogen sulphide.

Farts are caused by trapped air, which can come from many sources. Some of it is air that we have swallowed while chewing or drinking. Some air is caused by gas seeping into our intestines from our blood, and some gas is produced by chemical reactions in our intestines or bacteria living in our guts.

A typical fart is composed of about 59 percent nitrogen, 21 percent hydrogen, 9 percent carbon dioxide, 7 percent methane and 4 percent oxygen. Only about one percent of a fart contains hydrogen sulphide gas and mercaptans, which contain sulphur, and the sulphur is what makes farts stink.

Farts make a sound when they escape due to the vibrations of the rectum. The loudness may vary depending on how much pressure is behind the gas, as well as the tightness of the sphincter muscles.

Causes of Flatulence

Flatulence may be attributed to poor digestion of foods.

Gas also occurs when certain foods are not digested by the body. Carbohydrates such as fibre, starches and sugar sometimes remain undigested because the enzymes that are needed for digestion are
not present. The food that remains undigested moves into the large intestine where it is acted upon by bacteria. This process results in the formation of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, and in some people, methane. These gases are eliminated from the body through the rectum. The same foods that lead to flatulence in one individual may not lead to flatulence in others. There are also certain bacteria present in the colon that can destroy the gases produced by the other bacteria. An imbalance of these bacteria may be the cause of flatulence in some people. Gas is mostly caused by foods high in carbohydrates. Some of the common foods that lead to a build-up of gas include:

  • Beans contain raffinose which is a complex sugar. This sugar is also present in broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts.
  • Starches contained in wheat, potatoes and corn may lead to gas formation.
  • Onions contain fructose, a natural sugar which is also present in foods such as wheat and pears.
  • Sorbitol is a sugar found in fruits and is also used to artificially sweeten many products.
  • Red wine

Are Farts Flammable

Phil the test manager, Going Postal

The methane and hydrogen in bacteria-produced farts make your gas highly flammable. This is why some people think it’s a fun party trick to hold a lighter up to their bums and let one fly; doing so produces a big burst of flame, but is obviously very dangerous, but IMHO incredibly funny.

Farting as entertainment – (Wiki)

Historical comment on the ability to fart at will is observed as early as Saint Augustine’s The City of God (5th century AD). Augustine mentions men who “have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at will, so as to produce the effect of singing”.  Intentional passing of gas and its use as entertainment for others appear to have been somewhat well known in pre-modern Europe, according to mentions of it in medieval and later literature, including Rabelais.

Le Pétomane (“the Fartomaniac”) was a famous French performer in the 19th century who, as well as many professional farters before him, did flatulence impressions and held shows. The performer Mr. Methane carries on le Pétomane’s tradition today.

Farting is a fetish

A 2013 paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior describes a 22-year-old man who is sexually aroused by flatulence. The fetish is also known as eproctophilia.
I am mentioning this as a fact, not just so some GPers may post pictures! (No names, cough, MJ cough and Kent cough).

Termites produce the most farts of any other animal

It’s hard to believe that the tiny termite is responsible for a great deal of our so called global warming problem on the planet. Termites fart more than any other animal, which produces methane gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Global emissions of methane due to termites are estimated to be between 2 and 22 Tg (Terragrams) per year, making them the second largest natural source of methane emissions. Methane is produced in termites as part of their normal digestive process, and the amount generated varies among different species.

I will also list camels, zebras, sheep, cows, elephants, and dogs (especially labs and retrievers) as one of the big farters as well.  We have a British Bulldog, and I would certainly include her in this list.

Better out than in?

Doctors are not clear or sure about this.  De-facto, I believe better out then in.


Phil the test manager ©